(Photo: "CBS This Morning")
Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, appeared on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday to answer viewers' questions on forgiveness, but he also commented on the surprising resignation of Pope Benedict XVI from the papacy.
Jakes said he was "astounded" when he learned last week that Pope Benedict XVI would be retiring just eight years after succeeding the deceased Pope John Paul II, making the 85-year-old the first pontiff to resign in almost 600 years of the Roman Catholic Church's history.
"I think it was shocking because we haven't seen it for 600 years or so, but it is indicative of the times we live, that people are doing things in new ways and new capacities," said Jakes. "I take it at face value based on what we know so far."
The Potter's House pastor's discussion with "CBS This Morning" hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King, and Norah O'Donnell eventually shifted to the subject of Jakes' newest book, Let It Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven, which was published last month. The megachurch pastor and author fielded viewers' questions about dealing with forgiveness even in the most intimate of relationships.
One viewer asked if forgiveness means to completely cut someone out of your life, after sharing that his or her parents have been divorced for 30 years and, despite having forgiven each other, can't stand to be in the same room with each other, not even for the sake of their children and grandchildren.
"That's not really forgiveness. I think sometimes you have to rise to the bigger picture and see the welfare of your children and your family," said Jakes. "There are some couples that go through a divorce and get along better after divorce than they do before. That is when you prioritize the whole idea of family and children above the individual circumstances that led to the divorce."
Jakes was also asked to comment on dealing with individuals one may have forgiven, but who refuse to do likewise.
"A lot of times people think that forgiveness is based on the other person. It really is not. This is totally about you. It does not exonerate the perpetrator, it doesn't restore the relationship. It just says 'I'm not going to carry the burden of this unforgiveness inside of me, and it has nothing to do with whether you reciprocate it or not.' This is about liberating yourself," the minister explained.
Jakes noted that forgiveness is an issue addressed in the Bible "over and over again."
"[Jesus] says to forgive 70 times 70 ... what he's really saying is to perpetuate a methodology whereby you let things go so that you are free," he said. "It's not the literal number that he's after, but getting in the process of releasing things so that you're available for what's in front of you rather than what's behind you."
The Potter's House founder, who is also a film producer, was recently acknowledged at the BET Honors ceremony for his work. In his acceptance speech, Jakes said his destiny "is to help other people reach their destiny." He leads the nondenominational Potter's House that is home to 30,000 members.
Watch Bishop T.D. Jakes' interview on "CBS This Morning":